Mel Tormé was a magnificent singer and composer, but you may not know of one of his recordings unless you're a fan of the obscure and twisted.
On Was (Not Was)'s album Born to Laugh at Tornadoes, the closing track, "Zaz Turned Blue", is a gorgeously arranged ballad about a young man who was choked and who may or may not have suffered brain damage as a result. Tormé sings it beautifully and utterly straight, and that's what makes it work. Playing it for laughs would have been totally wrong.
....and I had a point, or at least another example, and I've utterly forgotten what it was. Ah, well--at the very least, do find and give a listen to "Zaz Turned Blue." It's worth your while.
UPDATE: David Was wrote a short article for NPR about how the song came to be, with a link to Tormé's wonderful performance.